By Margaret Zheng
I began high school desiring to learn. I didn’t want to worry about the future yet, fearing that to study for college was giving up the joy and essence of learning. Must high school eliminate the joy of the present in order for students to see the future?
English teacher Ms. McKenney believes the answer to that query depends on the student. Some prefer to plan, to be “here and now”; some, however, pursue college or a similar goal. As a teacher passionate about reading, Ms. McKenney wants her students to reach for fiction in order to stimulate their imaginations and their intellect, since that path specifically is often forgotten.
“We’re going to read Romeo and Juliet because there is a magical story behind it,” she says, “[and] we’re going to read Frankenstein because it will make [students] think.”
Mr. Crooke, the orchestra director, makes similar comments about teaching music. He hopes his students remain involved in music beyond their high school years since music enriches life. “They may not know it,” he says, “but [my students] are developing a keener appreciation and habit by doing music.”
Says Melody Wu, a senior planning for college, “Don’t limit yourself; don’t be so sure of yourself." She finds that being unsure of her future major allows her to “experiment” within her larger interest in STEM fields and eliminates the chore of taking challenging but otherwise “unnecessary” classes like AP World History. School, to Wu, is for learning and experiencing various academic perspectives that help her find her love.
However, to senior Neil R. McKenna, who hopes to become an Air Force Pararescue medic, the experiences school provides should directly relate to what is needed in the workplace. He sees no use in learning abstract math such as algebra and geometry, but he remarks that “we’re not born with the inherent ability to balance a checkbook.”
After speaking with these insightful students and teachers, I have concluded that even though the future will always demand to be sketched in view, it is my choice when and how to paint the present. I dab my brush in sunrise, immersing my thoughts in dreamy skies, while keeping foot on stable ground, coaxing my little light to shine, for a brighter future, and a beautiful now. Perhaps high school and its multitude of experiences can do the same for us all.